Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Big Changes Coming

The times, they are a-changing. This blog will be a-changing soon. Since February 2007, is has been subtitled "Theology, Art, Entertainment, and Cat Litter in St. Louis, USA." That will be the first obvious change. By the end of the month, for starters, I will be writing it from a different location. And that's because, for the first time since 2006, I will be moving to a different town. This is going to feel weird. I've never stayed in one place nearly as long as I've been here.

My Book Trolley reviews originally ended with the byline "Robbie Fischer, Arizona USA." I started writing editorials and reviews for MuggleNet in 2003, while living in Yuma, Arizona. After 2005 "Arizona" changed to "St. Louis," more or less. There was that one awkward year in the bedroom community of Washington, Missouri, before I took the plunge into the city itself. And then there was one eensy, weensy move, five buildings down the street, when my apartment complex bribed me to shift quarters so they could turn my first St. Louis pad into a model apartment. I had started this blog by then. I remember apologizing for being out of touch while moving. That was in the era when I averaged more than one post per day.

Now things may slow down even a bit more. The art and entertainment threads in my existence may not be as robust as they have been before now. I may never again be involved in classical music at the level I have been since moving to St. Louis. It really saddens me to contemplate the end of my nine-season stint with the Saint Louis Symphony Chorus, the nearly three seasons I participated in the Bach at the Sem program, and many of the other cultural perks of living in this town. I will have to travel a lot farther to take in live performances of music, other than at a high school level. Opportunities to play the organ in church, or to sing and play the piano at social gatherings, may also lie somewhat thinner on the ground. I already regret taking for granted the art museums, theaters, and opera companies that I rarely or never patronized when my future seemed to bode of St. Louis forever.

I'm also a little concerned about my cats. I'm not sure what I'll do with them. I don't know what I would do without them. I seem to have two weeks to find either a place to live that will accept pets, or a place for them to live without me. Yikes.

Steps I have taken so far:
  • I gave my two-week notice at work.
  • I reserved a U-haul moving van.
  • I put in at the post office for a change of mailing address.
  • I sent my regrets for the foreseeable future to the two choruses in which I had planned to sing this fall.
Steps I still need to take:
  • I need to work things out with my current landlord regarding the remainder of my lease.
  • I need to get hustling on finding a new apartment that allows pets and charges less rent than where I live now. I can stay with my parents for a little bit, but the littler the better.
  • I need to have the utilities in my apartment taken out of my name.
  • I need to update my billing address with everybody who is either sending me money or demanding that I send them money—lenders, insurance providers, etc.
  • I need to pick up moving supplies and start getting my stuff packed up.
  • I will need to clean this place, and organize my junk, and throw a way a lot of it.
  • I will need to turn in all my work-related equipment and materials to my outgoing employer.
  • I will need to figure out my approach to the problem of church membership. Enough said for now.
  • And then it's only a little matter of picking up the truck, packing up the truck, driving, driving, driving, unpacking, and dropping off the truck.
Whew! Do I really want to do this? Yes, I'm afraid I do. In fact, I'm scared witless that I do. The reason I'm moving is that I've been offered a chance to do something that I started preparing to do at least as far back as the fifth grade. I'm going to be writing for, and eventually editing, a weekly newspaper: The Morgan County Press of Stover, Missouri, population 1,000. I also get to live within a few minutes' drive of my parents for the first time in my adult life. In fact, Dad will be working in the same office, editing the weekly Versailles Leader-Statesman, which is owned by the same publisher. I have a lot of reasons to be excited about this. Though I'm not looking at a big pay rise—indeed, in hourly terms, it's quite the opposite—the full-timeness of the job fills a need I have been struggling with since I left my previous position at a periodical, a year and a half ago. And I am hopeful that I'll be able to set myself up in a more affordable lifestyle, better suited to my current means.

But what really has me excited, what has kept my mind jumping night and day since I learned about the opening just last Thursday (and submitted my resume immediately, and interviewed for it on Monday, and was offered the job the same day), is that I get to live by the sweat of my gray cells and the blood of my pen. I get to make good on the promise that I made to myself when I published the class newspaper in fifth grade, and studied journalism in high school, and either contributed to or edited all the school newspapers and literary magazines at every level of academia from high school through seminary, and went to college on a journalism scholarship, and kept a handwritten journal for a decade just to stay in shape as writer, and thought I was going to be a professional writer someday. This will be my first opportunity to do regularly remunerative writing, after a dozen unsold novels, a massive album of unsellable poetry, eight years of doing everything except writing at a magazine, and eleven years of prolifically contributing to a Harry Potter fansite that has so far paid me exactly $50 and one collectible magic wand. Actually, the $50 was a prize for guessing closest to the date the "Diagon Alley" theme park was going to open. So what I'm saying is, I get to do for a living what I've been doing for love all my life. Isn't that cool?

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